Welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission

Rockford Rescue Mission is recognized as the region’s primary provider of assistance to the homeless,
near-homeless, addicted and working poor in the Rock River Valley.


Mission Statement

Rockford Rescue Mission shares hope and help in Jesus’ name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness.

Core Values

  • Living for the Glory of God
  • Respecting Human Dignity and Immortality
  • Proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Modeling Compassionate Generosity
  • Partnering with the Church and Community
  • Serving with Integrity and Excellence
  • Rejoicing in Lives Changed by God


A Message from Executive Director


Welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission! I’m delighted you’re here. It gives me a chance to share the tremendous difference you can make as a partner with our ministry to people who are homeless and hungry, or experiencing poverty and despair.


Every day, we see people facing situations far beyond their control. The news reports and underlying statistics break my heart. Eighty percent of homeless women are fleeing domestic violence. The opioid epidemic claims the lives of more than 100 people in the U.S. every day. Mental health services in our area need far more funding to serve those in need.


Your support makes a difference!


● RESCUE through crisis services like food, shelter and clothing – supporting people’s most immediate and basic needs
● RENEWAL through comprehensive life recovery programs – including art and music therapy, life-skills classes and employment training
● RESTORATION through returning men and women to our community – and to their families, friends and employers – healed and whole through God’s love


I hope your heart is moved by the possibility of having such an impact in so many hurting lives. Our Mission guests feel blessed and encouraged, knowing they have you standing beside them and supporting their recovery.


The Mission’s ministry is most powerful with the strength of our Rock River Valley communities behind us. As we continue serving together in 2019, I’m deeply grateful for the people, churches and businesses that have kept our doors open for 55 years.


Please consider joining us as a supporter, a volunteer and/or a participant at our events. Your impact will last for eternity.


Partners in Hope,

Sherry Pitney

Executive Director


The Big Needs in Rockford


45,680 nights of lodging


153,264 meals


202,102 items of clothes and hygiene


7,909 counseling sessions

Meet Our Leadership Team

Sherry web3

Sherry Pitney

Executive Director

Greg Cooney

Director of Programs

Jan Danaher

Director of Finance

Mindy Jackson

Director of Human Resources

Teresa Reeverts

Director of Program Support Services

Mike Hedrick

Supervisor of Men’s Programs

Crystal Savage

Director of Development

Ted Tomita

Director of Donor Relations

Wyatt Shanks

Volunteer Coordinator

Tom Mathisen

Director of Operations

Pam Tomita

Women's Programs Supervisor

Meet our 2018 Board of Directors

Brad Vander Heyden, Chairman
Business Owner:  Advanced Chimney Systems


Stan Valiulis, Vice Chairman
President: High PSA LTD


Ann Dittmar, Secretary
Attorney: Guyer & Enichen P.C.


Michael Kalodimos, Treasurer
SVP Commercial Lending: Rockford Bank & Trust

Ronald Billy, Jr.

Architect: Tyson & Billy Architects PC


Tim Clauson
International Playground Director:
Kids Around the World


Anita Miller
Professor & Teacher:  Dominican University

Laura Ortiz
Retired: ComEd Human Resources


Char Remer
Retired: School Administrator


Dennis Staaland
Consultant: Mallwood Capital

Council of Elders

Rev. Robert David Aldridge
Pastor Bethany Presbyterian Church

Rev. Peder Carlson
Retired Presbyterian Pastor

Rev. Gordon E. Hanstad
Retired Baptist General Conference Pastor

Rev. James H. Harness
Retired Minister & Missionary

Richard Todd 
CEO, Todd Transit

Rev. Dwight Zuercher
Retired Baptist Pastor

Rockford Rescue Mission is an IRS approved 501(c)3 charitable organization.
All donations to Rockford Rescue Mission are tax deductible.

Tour the History of Rockford Rescue Mission


  • 1963 Ray Stewart (a recovered alcoholic) came from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago to establish a similar mission in Rockford.
  • 1964 Ray rented a building at 116 Kishwaukee Street for $100 a month and opened the doors of the Rockford Rescue Mission in May.  The sign on the front door read, “All are welcome here. The alcoholic, the addict, the stranger, the sojourner, the pilgrim, the poor. There is hope for all who enter here.”
  • 1965 At Ray’s recommendation, the Board appointed Ray’s pastor, Rev. G.O. Pitney with his wife, Nadine, as new director. The first newsletter was released, later called The Rescuer.
  • 1967 All debts were paid off. Rev. Pitney appeals in The Rescuer, “Won’t you help us build a modern city rescue mission which any Christian would be proud of and upon which the world would look with greater respect?”
  • 1969 Forty to fifty churches were supporting the Mission and The Rescuer circulation reached 2000.


  • 1971 The Mission bought the 21,000 square foot Germania Club at 121 South Madison for $30,000. The building, built in 1892 with a ballroom, bar, and Rockford’s first automated bowling alley, was converted into a place of refuge, redemption, and recovery. The new Mission motto was: “Help all the people we can, in all the ways we can, as long as ever we can.”
  • 1974 The Mission partnered with Christian Love Acres, a 60-acre farm near South Beloit, to provide work rehabilitation for the men through doing chores, caring for animals, buying and selling hay and painting tractors.
  • 1975 Women and children were included in outreach services; a literacy program began, and free clothing was distributed to the needy through Family Day program.
  • 1979 The abandoned Poole Hotel at 730 West State and the house behind it on Elm Street were purchased from Salvation Army for $10,000 to care for  women and families. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” opened in a rented building at 309 Seventh Street to sell donated goods to support the Mission.
  • Mission founder, Ray Stewart died in an auto accident. In tribute, G.O. Pitney wrote, “If it had not been for Ray Stewart, there would not be a Rockford Rescue Mission.”


  • 1980 A house at 723 Elm Street was purchased for $32,000 for staff housing and “Kiddie Kare” children’s ministry.
  • 1982 Perry Pitney (oldest son of G.O. and Nadine Pitney) and his wife, Sherry, were hired to lead the programs (Perry was named Associate Director in 1984 and Director in 1987).
  • 1984 “The Pitney Family Gospel Singers” began touring to give concerts in order to raise awareness and funds for the Mission.
  • 1985 The Christian Care Center, with eighteen rooms for women and children’s recovery, was dedicated after six years of renovations.
  • 1987 “The Pitneys” were named “Contemporary Gospel Bluegrass Group of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America.
  • 1988 “The Helping Hand” at 125 Madison Street opened to distribute free food and clothing to those in need.


  • 1992 An area auto dealer donated a 46,000 square foot building at 1201 Broadway, which was later sold for $119,000 to be designated as a building fund.
  • 1994 The Mission purchased and developed 42 acres in Southwest Rockford for a children’s day camp and recreational/agricultural programs known as Mission Acres.
  • 1995 The Rockford Register Star presented the Mission with its “Excelsior Award” for outstanding contribution to the community.

The Launch of Hope Place

  • 1996 The Mission purchased 5.5 acres of property at 600 and 700 West State Street for $150,000 from Bill Hembrough Buick, which included a gift in kind of $392,000. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” sold and Mission opened a new thrift store, “Keepers Unlimited” at 1405 Kishwaukee Street.
  • 1998 “The Pitneys” won the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) Award for Best Christian music group and Nadine Pitney received the YWCA Marcella Harris Award for Community Service.
  • 1999 The Mission relocated to Hope Place. This new facility was made possible by a $4.5M capital campaign. The Women’s Crisis Center, Hope Clinic and a second thrift store were opened. The staff increased to 102 employees. The Pitneys retired.


  • 2000 Perry Pitney resigned, and Dr. Pat Clinton was interim director.
  •  Innovative Education Center opened, and community outreach support groups were launched.
  • 2001 Keepers Unlimited opened a third thrift store at Southgate Shopping Center.
  • Sherry Pitney was appointed Executive Director.
  • 2002 The Mission was licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services as a State Certified Recovery Home, and Hope Dental clinic opened.
  • 2004 “Rescuing the Raggedy Man: The History of Rockford Rescue Mission” by Perry Pitney and Jim Killam was published.
  • The Mission celebrated its 40th anniversary.
  • 2005 Former Executive Director Perry Pitney was killed in an auto accident.
  • 2009 The building at 625 West State Street was renovated to house Restoration Café, a vocational training center and café open to the public.
  • The Mission’s “Mother of Rescue,” Nadine Pitney, died after a long battle with cancer.
  • The Mission celebrated 10 years at Hope Place and 45 years of ministry.
  • The Mission received the Spirit of Caring Award from Crusader Community Health.


  • 2010 G.O. Pitney died at the age of 80 after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 26 years. The block of Horsman Street between State Street and Mulberry Street was designated “Pitney Place” in honor of G.O. and Nadine Pitney.
  • 2011 The Mission expanded its State Street campus with the purchase of the building at 212 N. Rockton  to accommodate needs of the facilities department.
  • 2012 The Mission purchased the former 56,000 square foot Bob’s Hardware to expand the Thrift Store operation. The Mission received a $750,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank in Chicago to fund renovations at Hope Place.
  • 2014 The Mission celebrates 50th anniversary with “What’s your story?” theme.
  • 2015 The Mission receives “Partners in Success Guardian Award” from Carpenter’s Place.
  • 2016 A $7 million building expansion called Pitney Place is completed. The women and children move in May 10, 2016.
  • 2016 Jay and Christine Akely playground is dedicated.
  • The former Pregnancy Care Center at 611 West State is purchased for expansion.
  • 2017 Drive thru to Restoration Café is opened.
  • The Mission opens expanded education and career program called Works! Center.
  • Remade shop opens at 611 W. State Street.
  • The former Jay Tronics building located at 124 N. Rockton is purchased for future expansion.
  • 2018 William Howard and Lucille D. Dittmar Performing Arts Center opens.
  • Men’s Remade begins
  • Restoration Cafe wins first-place Business is Blooming award from the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for its attractive and inviting exterior.